The African Constituency Bureau in collaboration with the Global Fund Secretariat, WHO AFRO Regional Director’s Office, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Togo, held successful Global Fund 7th replenishment advocacy discussions on the margins of the 72nd WHO AFRO regional committee meeting in Lomé, Togo on 26th August 2022. The meeting aimed at mobilizing African ministers’ support towards the Seventh replenishment by encouraging African governments to pledge and honor their commitments to the Global Fund to advance the goal of ending HIV, tuberculosis and malaria by 2030. The meeting also aimed to highlight the importance of Domestic Resource Mobilization in the fight against the three diseases.
More specifically, the discussion at the WHO AFRO Regional meeting aimed to promote a shared understanding of the Global Fund investment case among the political leadership to help them better champion replenishment efforts within their governments and increasing political commitment and visibility in the last mile before the pledging conference that will be held in September 19-21, 2022 in New York. The pledging conference aims to mobilize 18 billion required to continue the fight HIV, tuberculosis and malaria while building stronger health systems that can withstand the test of COVID-19 and future pandemics.
The event targeted at Africa Health Ministers participating in the WHO Regional meeting and their delegations. The discussion format included a panel, which included:
• Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Afro Regional Director who gave the opening remarks
• Dr. Donald Kaberuka, Global Fund Board Chair,
• H.E. Ambassador Minata Samaté Cessouma, Africa Union Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development,
• Prof. Kalipso Chalkidou, Global Fund Health Finance Department,
• Dr. Corine Karema, Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership to End Malaria Interim Chief Executive Officer,
• Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Stop TB Partnership Executive Director.
The discussion was moderated by the African constituency representatives to the Global Fund Board, Dr. Magda Robalo, Global Fund WCA Alternate Board Member and Dr. Charles Mwansambo, Global Fund Alternate Board Member for East and Southern Africa.
Also present was the host country Minister of Health, Prof. Moustafa Mijiyawa, of Togo provided closing remarks to the meeting.
The panel and Ministers present acknowledged the following during the discussion:
• The importance of global partnership and leadership to end the three epidemics, which was articulated strongly by Dr. Matshidiso Moeti as well as Ambassador Minata Samaté Cessouma. The two emphasized the need to ensure that replenishment efforts and the fight to end the three epidemics remain anchored in strategic visions such as the catalytic framework, the Africa Union agenda 2063 and the achievement of UHC.
• The Global Fund as a game changer in the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria as evidenced by over 44 million deaths averted over the 20-year history of the Fund. Dr. Donald Kaberuka and Dr. Lia Tadesse the Ethiopian Minister of Health highlighted that “ 20 years ago, telling a patient that they are HIV positive was a death sentence”. 20 years onwards, through Global Fund partnership investments including governments from donor and implementer countries, civil society organizations, communities have made lifesaving treatment is easily accessible, and have resulted in death rates being significantly reduced.
• That while much progress had been achieved in the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, the COVID pandemic had negatively impacted programmatic gains and that replenishment efforts would help bring the programmatic goals back on track. In light of this, Dr. Corine Karema from RBM and Dr. Lucica Ditiu from the Stop TB partnership respectively, further stressed the importance of ensuring increased funding for Malaria and TB.
• The Seventh Replenishment comes in the face of a global recession, energy crises, increasing country debt burdens, emerging political and security threats which all constrain countries fiscal space and subsequent capacity to pledge.
• Appreciation across board to the commitment of the United States Government which will host the replenishment conference as well as well as its consistent and significant contribution to the Global Fund while also appreciating funding from other donors.
During the plenary discussion, fourteen Ministers of Health added their voices on the importance of the Seventh Replenishment by declaring support to pledge and honour commitments from their respective governments. The fourteen ministers included:
1. Guinea Bissau
2. Sierra Leone
3. Central African Republic
8. Republic of the Congo
13. Democratic Republic of Congo
The Ministers acknowledged the need for increasing domestic resources for health and building resilient systems for health through efforts such as local manufacturing and strengthening supply chain based on lessons learned from COVID. They furthermore commended the Global Fund’s flexibility in assisting countries to respond to the three diseases based on local realities.
In closing, the Togo Minister of Health thanked the Global Fund for its commitment to ending the three epidemics and pledged Togo’s support to the Replenishment.